In the last issue we discussed several options on offering a cup of Joe to customers – from expensive non-profit systems to cheaper ones – and it prompted a response from Peter McAfee, who runs Spar Wickwar in glorious Gloucestershire.

He writes: “The coffee cowboys really do take the biscuit (ha ha!). One of the tricks they use is not to include VAT on sales. We had one of the Nescafé units you mention and it was fine, although somewhat expensive to run as it maintains the water at 98°C all day. The prepack cups from Nescafé are expensive. Ours broke and we got one of these: Tesco Direct: Breville Hot Cup One Cup Cordless Hot Water Dispenser, 2ltr black. This costs next to nothing to run as it only boils a cup as you use it.”

He adds that they get good quality cups and lids through Country Choice (Brakes) and buy a big tin of good quality (Douwe Egberts/Nescafé Gold) from the cash & carry when it’s on offer.

“We always have broken sugar and leaking milk in the shop (who doesn’t?) and use that up. Prepacked milk and sugar is a needless expense. We sell at 50p and are making nearly 100% even counting in the milk and sugar, but I’ll probably put it up to 60p next month as it has been the same for some years.

“Okay, so it takes a little time (45 seconds) but I can generally sell a Danish or a flapjack to the customer while I’m making the coffee, and if I don’t sell any in a day then there’s no cost and no cleaning – very important!”